Transitioning to sulfate free shampoo or natural shampoo isn't going to be an overnight success. There's 3 main things we think everyone should know and understand before making the switch to ensure it's a successful one. The same thing happens with natural deodorant too, so don't be worried. You will get through it with magnificent looking hair. We just suggest you choose a time where you can live with your hair feeling and looking a little flat for a few days.

Transitioning to sulfate free shampoo - There's going to be an adjustment period

Before deciding which natural shampoo suits your hair the best when you're transitioning to sulfate free shampoo from hair products containing SLS and silicone, there is going to be an adjustment period where your hair may not look or feel so great. It doesn't mean you chose the wrong product, or that sulphate free shampoos don't work, you just have prepare your hair for the change and wait for it to happen.

The folks at Beauty & The Bees, who make the first natural shampoo bars we ever stocked tell us the following:-

"Don't use our natural Shampoo Bars just once or twice - Give them a chance!!"

And this statement is particularly true of their original shampoo bars, and less about their new pH balanced shampoo bars and other bars that have come after them that are formulated more like shampoo than soap.

Conventional shampoo & conditioner will leave a build up of residue from synthetic polymers and silicone on your hair shaft. They leave your hair feeling smooth and slippery and what most people would refer to as 'nice'. When transitioning to sulfate free shampoo, you need to allow repeated washes for your new natural shampoo to wash these away and then let your scalp adjust to your own natural and protective conditioning oils to settle back in. They get stripped away by the SLS and can be a contributing factor in dry and itchy scalps that cause dandruff. When the scalp is dry, it then produces more natural oils to remedy the problem and then you have an excess of oil and so the circle continues.

It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks or even longer for some people for this cycle to break. Persist and you will be glad. The same thing can happen with over washing.

Transitioning to sulfate free shampoo

Transitioning to sulfate free shampoo - You're going to want to use a clarifying shampoo to help you

A clarifying shampoo is one that's formulated to cut through more stubborn dirt and grime or residue left behind by styling products, or in this case, the silicones left in your hair by mainstream conditioners.  They can be an effective way to assist in transitioning to sulfate free shampoo. They are also great to use after the beach or swimming in a chlorine pool, but you may not want to use one every time you wash.

They are more about removing deposits on the hair, not about conditioning and nurturing. If you exercise a lot, swim a lot, sweat a lot, use a lot of styling products or you're making the switch to a natural hair care regime, having a clarifying shampoo or rinse in your kit is a really good idea. They are also perfect for stripping mineral deposits from the hair shaft left behind by hard water and chlorine which can not only affect the feel of your hair but also the colour.

How often should you use a clarifying shampoo? Whenever you feel a build up or once every one to two weeks. Oily scalps can contribute to hair loss, so keeping everything 'squeaky clean' is a good plan of attack long term.
Our favourite picks are the Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo, Beauty and the Bees Clarifying Hair Rinse, Acure Curiously Clarifying Shampoo and Giovanni 2chic Clarifying & Calming Shampoo. Find each of them in the SHOP THIS ARTICLE section.

Transitioning to sulfate free shampoo - Choose the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type

Shampoo with SLS and conditioner with silicones strip your hair of natural oils and then coat the shaft. If you have never used a natural or sulfate free shampoo, there's a chance you really don't know what your true hair type is. When transitioning to sulfate free shampoo be prepared to choose hair products and then swap them if you don't get the results you're after. You could have oily hair without knowing it because you washed every 2nd day with SLS shampoo and it just stripped them all out. Be prepared to learn until you get the balance right. When you do, your hair will look and feel better than ever.